All India Secular Forum welcomes the release of Gujarat IPS Officer Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt on bail. Members of All India Secular Forum had protested against the arrest of Sanjiv Bhatt as an attempt to intimidate a person who could be a prime witness in the 2002 riot related cases. The charges leveled against Mr. Bhatt were not of such nature that would require his arrest for investigation as everything was matter of record. Bail is a rule and jail is an exception according to number of judgments of Supreme Court. If Sanjiv Bhatt was granted bail in spite of vehement opposition by the Government which was out to portray the IPS officer as a dangerous criminal on the word of K.D. Panth, a low ranking police officer without investigation, speaks volumes about the merit of the charges on which Bhatt was arrested. Chief Minister of Gujarat is also is likely to be accused in Ahsan Jaffri Gulbarg Society communal riot case in which 61 persons were killed and has not yet been exonerated. To have a potential witness under the control of a potential accused and that too on accusation of a low ranking police officer over whom too any Chief Minister could easily wield influence cannot be in the interest of justice and rule of law. In fact, Bhatt’s advocate I H Sayed has alleged that Bhatt’s arrest was to get hold of and destroy the evidence in Ahsan Jaffri case. Even while welcoming the release of Sanjiv Bhatt on bail, All India Secular Forum at the same time calls upon all justice loving citizens of the country to be vigilant as many other obstacles are likely to be put to misdirect the course of justice as those accused are indeed powerful. Sadbhavna does not come with media spectacles of a fast but by delivering justice to the victims of riots; when even those powerful elements who are guilty of planning and executing the 2002 communal riots are brought to justice.
All India Secular Forum Convening Committee